James Hansen wins Hong Kong International Diamond Mile
James Hansen and Melissa Duncan take men's and women's titles in Diamond Mile event
Australians claimed the major spoils in the second Hong Kong International Diamond Mile in Central yesterday, taking the men's and women's titles.
Tasmanian James Hansen, 19, took the men's title in four minutes and 20 seconds, but had to work as gusty conditions hit over the second leg of the two-lap course to hold off fellow Australian Nathan Down (4:21) and Kenya's Solomon Kipyego Keter (4:24).
Hansen, the Australian junior 1,500m champion in 2012, sprinted from the starter's gun to the first corner to establish an early lead, but was then overtaken by Keter as the group of 14 middle-distance runners made their way past the former Legco Building on Des Voeux Road.
The Australian runners then allowed Keter to dominate the pace for the next 800 metres before both stormed home to set up their own duel for the first prize with just 400m to go.
"I've never done a street mile before so this was an entirely new experience for me," said Hansen, who is the Tasmanian champion at both 800m and 1,500m. "A couple of the corners were very tight so I had to be careful, but I think I timed my run for home very well.
"The atmosphere around the course was incredible. I've never seen this many people watching a race before, and it's made me realise what I love about athletics."
Melissa Duncan went into the women's race as hot favourite and led from start to finish to comfortably see off the challenge of China's Zhang Xiaojun and Wu Limin.
The Victoria athlete judged the pace to perfection, and the Chinese were never able to really trouble the 23-year-old from Melbourne.
"Our track-and-field season finished three weeks ago and I've not been training all that much, so it's good to win," said Duncan, who plans to compete in the 1,500m, 3,000m steeplechase and 5,000m in next year's Commonwealth Games, and is the Victorian mile champion.
"I'm really delighted to have won this race. Hong Kong is an amazing city and completely different to what I was expecting to find.
"I hope I can come back next year to defend my title."
Yiu Kit-ching ran a personal best 5:07 to take fourth place ahead of athletes from Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Indonesia.
The packed programme of domestic events saw several notable victories, not least Chan Ka-ho winning the men's senior race from hot favourite Thomas Kiprotich. Chan ran 4:34 to the Kenyan's 4:36. Yu Wing-hay (5:32) won the women's senior race from former champion Cheung Hoi-wah (5:34).